A (possibly) fake police office pulls you over. What do you do?

Imagine you are taking your kid home from school. Its a normal day kids are walking on the sidewalks. You turn a corner (no one is behind you) when suddenly a light green subaru is right on your tail and tailgating you.
You pull to one side and stop (probably too abruptly for him) and you roll down your window and say “go around”.

He’s out of his car in a split second running at your door screaming at the top of his lungs “why did you stop? Why did you stop?” He’s trying to sound like a police officer, but the car is wrong, there are no lights, he’s dressed all wrong…
like some hair-cut model picture on the wall of a hair place. (Imagine for the sake of argument that Starsky & Hutch is just an old TV show.)

You ask if he is a police officer, and he says “yeah”. He whips out a black wallet… and the wallet is EMPTY. All it shows is a gold printed silk screen of a “NJSP”, about 1/4 inch big, along one corner in a gold stripe… and no other identifying characteristics of ID.
For all intents and purposes, its as empty as a department store wallet.

He doesn’t ask for money, but he’s getting off on being a loud-mouthed asshole to you and he’s scaring your kid. You then put two & two together, you start your car and you off, leaving him to call BS after you in the street as you drive away.

Q1: Would you call the REAL police when you get home and report this? Would you have them send a REAL police car to your house & take a report? Keep in mind your kid is pretty shaken up (and you might be a little too).

Q2: SHOULD you call the police and file a report on this? Would the police even want to know about it? Do they care? (Technically nothing really happened except some asshole (“The Chams-Man”?) bloviated at you.
Yes, this guy “stole valor” from REAL police, yes its a felony, yes they sell wallets like that at every uniform supply store in the tri-state area and to virtually anybody who walks in.
They also take email orders that ship to PO boxes (spent a week a uniform place once, I know).
What would you do?

I suspect that the police would take a charge of impersonating law enforcement pretty seriously, especially if you had a license plate an a description of the person to give them. Even without the child being part of it, I’d have no hesitation about reporting the incident.

People who dress up as police officers who are not police officers are dangerous people. Hell yes, I call the cops immediately.

Yeah, that one needs a call to the police, especially if you can give detailed descriptions and information.

Forgot to add that, if I didn’t have a kid with me, I would demand his department ID with name and photo. Real LE have these and they are a better indicator of who is real than any piece of tin or wallet. I expect I would also insist he call his shift supervisor to the scene. Or, maybe after he showed me the dollar store wallet, I’d just give him the finger and drive away. Guess it would depend on how much I felt like fucking with the fake cop that day before I called the real cops. Yeah, he might escalate things, but on the other hand the more detailed descriptions of him and his bullshit I can articulate to the genuine po-po, the better.

After a spate of fake cops trying to pull over drivers, our local law enforcement agencies got together to recommend a) putting on your emergency flashers, while b) driving to a public area and c) calling 911.

I was driving down our two-lane road toward home when a car pulls up, starts tailgating me, and turns on some red flashing lights.

My BS meter pinged, so I didn’t pull over. The car was unmarked and there was no siren.

I eventually turned right to get to the house and he turned left. I was a bit shook, but I’m glad I didn’t pull over. Because the car was behind me I didn’t get a good look at the model and I didn’t see the license plate, so I didn’t see the point in calling the police. I guess I could have called 911 from my cell but I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

Why wait until you get home to call the cops? I whip out my cell, take a photo of the guy & his car Then I dial 911. He can wait for the real cops if he wants to, I am going to wait for them. This is an appropriate time to use the 911 system.

Then again, I am a big, biker looking dude, & I do not intimidate easily. That may be a big plus in this situation. My (grand) kids do not cry over getting pulled over. Heck, they are probably streaming this live on the internet.

As to question #2, Yes the cops care! They really hate it when some jerk impersonates them. I believe that in most states, impersonating a LEO is a felony. I know impersonating a Federal LEO will get you some serious jail time. An acquaintance found this out the hard way.

All this is assuming that I did as the OP suggested, I probably would not.

I had a very suspicious-looking individual pull me over about a broken taillight. He was very scruffily dressed, driving a beat up car, and offered me no idea. I drove away and made my way to the nearest police station. He followed me all the way there and pulled right in behind me when I parked. At that point, I started to think he was probably legit, and it turned out he was. When I entered the police station, they told me he’d been working undercover, had just gotten off assignment, and had pulled me over simply to tell me I had a taillight out. No one was angry that I’d done what I did.

Long story short - in your situation, I’d definitely have reported it. If you carry a cell phone with you, you are encouraged to call the police and leave the phone on during any conversation you have with the suspicious person. Like my situation, if they don’t run off when you tell them you have the police listening on the phone, they are probably legit.

These fake cops used to pull over drunks at bar close. They used to also pull over suburban kids in high drug areas too.

Yes to both questions.

But I would also add, no blue lights, no need to stop.

Like any good 'Merican, I wouldn’t drive away; as soon as I saw that he wasn’t really a cop, I’d shoot him. I’d shoot him dead because I felt my life and my family were in danger. *

  • (Where’s the tongue-in-cheek emoji? Do we have a tongue-in-cheek emoji? No? [sigh] :frowning: Ah well, all’s well that ends well, aye? :p)

About 10 or 12 years ago I was waiting at a light to make a left turn. I was well into the intersection, entirely over the crosswalk. There was another vehicle in front of me and when the light turned red they didn’t complete their turn, they started backing toward me. I honked and they stopped and honked back and resumed backing up. I honked again and the other driver stuck his whole body out the window with an open wallet and identified himself as a police officer and said he was “ordering” me to back up. Into the cars behind me, I guess. I didn’t, the jackass stayed put blocking the entire intersection until the light turned green in our direction again. I followed him into the neighborhood and parked about a block short of where he stopped at what I assume was his house. I called the police non emergency number to report the guy and the dispatcher seemed genuinely baffled at why I had called and what I supposed they would do in response. She said (in effect) it was a busy day and if I wanted to wait several hours at the location there might be a break in real crimes occurring and an officer might decide to come out to the scene and might humor me by filing a report which would get some laughs down at the station before collecting a few months worth of dust and getting thrown away.

So yeah, shoot him dead and spell FUCK YEAH across his corpse in urine.

CALL THE COPS! Even if he was a real cop, someone needs to look into the behavior you described.

Of course there have then been instances of police making arrests of people following these instructions :smack:

Wouldn’t a real police car have blue lights as well as red, or does that depend on where you are?

IME, It depends.

It depends. IIRC in New York the police can only have blue lights facing the rear of the car. A blue light flashing to the front is reserved for volunteer firefighters.

Snap a picture of that guy (maybe a video if I felt safe enough), circle around for a picture of his license plate, and get me to the local cop shop to file a report.

I beat it to the border after an unmarked vehicle with a flashing red light on the dash pulled me over only for a guy in a wife beater to step out and start walking toward me.